One thing I have learned in my career in Marketing is that you never want to provide a customer with a reason to try a competitor. Unfortunately, this is what the Springhill Suites in Flagstaff did when it imposed its own 'blackouts' for every weekend in March and April for itself and the Courtyard. I started trying to reserve two night using points starting at the time reservations became available. All March and most April weekends were all blacked out for 2016, so I booked two nights at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn (same category). This turned out to be an excellent property with fantastic customer service. Since I am Hilton Gold due to my Amex, I received a great complimentary breakfast for two every morning, and it was better than the CL breakfast at FS Marriotts. The hotel also offered complimentary transportation in the area, including Amtrak and airport.
We plan to take a similar trip next March and I noticed that the SHS and Courtyard already are blacking out those weekends again for points awards. Unfortunately, Hilton currently is charging a premium at this time for their point awards at the HGI, but at least they are offering that and lower prices. The two Marriott properties don't even have AAA or Senior rate availability. I will stay at the Comfort Suites (where other family members had a great stay) next door before paying $199 per night for a mediocre SHS or Courtyard. I don't understand how these properties are getting away with their self imposed 'blackouts' when there are supposed to be no blackout dates.